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Former VW diesel engine executive resigns from Porsche following seven-month Dieselgate suspension

The head of research and development at Porsche has announced that he is leaving the company seven months after being suspended by Volkswagen for possible involvement in the Dieselgate scandal. Wolfgang Hatz had previously served as the head of engine and transmission development at Volkswagen during the time in which the German automaker developed the “clean diesel” engines at the center of the emissions cheating scandal.

Hatz was suspended from his position at Volkswagen in September 2015 shortly after news of the Dieselgate scandal was made public. Porsche says that Hatz decided to leave the company voluntarily in light of the ongoing investigation of VW.

Volkswagen is accused of installing a software defeat device in more than 11 million VW and Audi diesel model in order to hide their high emissions levels from drivers and government regulators. The company has recalled more than 500,000 VW and Audi diesel models in the U.S. that were equipped with the defeat device. Hatz helped to develop the “TDI Clean Diesel” engines that were implicated in the emissions cheating scandal.

Hatz was one of several senior managers at Volkswagen who were suspended by the company following the disclosure of the automaker’s diesel emissions cheating. The company launched its own investigation into the cause of the Dieselgate scandal shortly after it was made public in September 2015. However, the company announced in April 2016 that it was abandoning plans to release preliminary findings from the investigation, citing the objections of lawyers who were advising the company on how to handle the allegations of diesel emissions cheating.

Shortly after being named as head of engine and transmission development at Volkswagen in 2007, Hatz stated publically that it would be difficult for VW to meet tough new emissions standards that were being implemented in the U.S. and California. Volkswagen has been accused of installing the emissions defeat devices in its diesel models in part to meet the requirements of these same emissions standards.

Hatz’s resignation is the latest in a series of high profile departures from Volkswagen AG following news of the Dieselgate scandal. Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn resigned shortly after information about the company’s emissions cheating was made public in September 2015. In March 2016, Volkswagen’s head of American operations, Michael Horn, also resigned following rumors that he was forced out by the company’s management.

The vehicles included in the Volkswagen diesel recall include the 2009-2015 Audi A3 TDI, the 2016 Audi A6 Quattro, the 2016 Audi A7 Quattro, the 2016 Audi A8, the 2016 Audi A8L, the 2016 Audi Q5, the 2015 Porsche Cayenne, the 2009-2015 Volkswagen Beetle TDI, the 2009-2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI, the 2009-2015 Volkswagen Jetta TDI, and the 2012-2015 Volkswagen Passat TDI. Emissions “defeat devices” have also been discovered on the 2014 Volkswagen Touareg, the 2015 Porsche Cayenne, and the 2016 Audi A6 Quattro, A7 Quattro, A8, A8L, and Q5, although so far these vehicles have not been recalled.

Volkswagen is currently facing hundreds of lawsuits filed by owners of the VW, Audi, and Porsche vehicles involved in the emissions cheating scandal. The German automakers may also be facing billions in fines as a result of a Justice Department lawsuit filed over the Dieselgate scandal. Legal experts say that executives and engineers at VW may also face criminal charges over the company’s emissions cheating, although so far no charges have been filed in the U.S.

Lawsuits Filed Against VW Over Dieselgate Emissions Cheating

Owners of one of the Volkswagen or Audi “TDI Clean Diesel” models that were recalled by VW may be eligible to join the numerous lawsuits that have already been filed against the German automakers. Numerous commercial fraud lawsuits and class action litigation claims have already been filed against Volkswagen by VW and Audi owners who purchased or leased one of the recalled automobiles. As Volkswagen’s admissions in the Dieselgate scandal have made clear, the company knew for years that it was selling vehicles that failed to meet U.S. emissions standards and fraudulently lied to its customers by touting the eco-friendly technology of these vehicles.

The law firm of Heygood, Orr & Pearson has filed lawsuits on behalf of VW owners whose vehicles were affected by the company’s emissions cheating. One of our partners, Michael Heygood, was recently named to the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee that will oversee the Multidistrict Litigation (or MDL) in California involving the Dieselgate scandal. Our attorneys expect to remain involved in these cases throughout the litigation process as we work to achieve the best results possible for our clients who were harmed by Volkswagen’s fraudulent conduct.

If you purchased or leased one of the VW, Audi, or Porsche diesel-powered vehicles involved in the Dieselgate recall, contact the lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson to learn more about whether you qualify to file a lawsuit. For a free legal consultation about your case, please contact us by calling toll-free at 1-877-446-9001, or by following the link to our free case evaluation form and answering a few simple questions to get started.

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